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The Evening Star SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 1915.

Italy has again been visited by another <if those appallingly Tha Italian disn-st-rous earthquakes Earthquake, for which in the course

of the centuries she lias gained a melancholy reputation. The opening vears of the twentieth century have already witnessed four, including that at Messina, ■which was said to have been the most terrible in her history, and now the news of a fifth, and, perhaps, the greatest oi ail, has come to a world long since heart-sick to the point of satiety with talcs of human slaughter and destruction. Had there been no worldwar with which to alilict our thoughts, had men and women been continuing their daily labors and pleasures in what they had conic to regard as the normal way, the news of the cruel catastrophe that has devastated so large a portion of Italy would have sent a thrill of sympathy and lit desire for immediate and effective philanthropic effort throughout the world. The fact that news which tell'i of a loss of over 20.C00 human lives, of more than double' that number of injured, of ruined villages and cities extending from Ancona on tire Adriatic

across the peninsula to Rome ami Naples, ami thence again further south and east, bringing ruin and havoc in its wake, has barely caused a ripple of comment, is but an illustration of the truth that the, public mind is incapable of assimilating more than one great tragedy at a time. Tiro seeming indifference and absence of

international comment are more apparent than real. They merely accentuate the absorbing nature of the interest in the etrugglo now raging on the battlefields of Europe. Yet wc venture to direct public attention to the need that exists to do something. Italy’s present loss in life and property cannot bo estimated ’ in pounds sterling. All that can at this moment be said is that a population as large as that of Dunedin has, in tho

inscrutable dispensation of Providence, boon swept into merciful death <n> physical impotence, while scores of other thousands have been reduced to poverty oncl dcsoair.

Let us, therefore, for a brief period concentrate our thoughts upon the dreadful scone, and seek for some plain, practicable, and definite, suggestion that I will at least showX-ewZealand's svinpathy I with a nation that she has been'honored j ip hoping »• fho past, and that at this J time of common danger is united to (he Empire, by bonds of friendship and similar j ideals. Italy calls to us in thus hour of i her agony as she has never called before, 1 J Italy needs all rhe monetary assistants | that can be given her, and she needs—j possibly even more than the help itself— I the sympathy of the whole British race, j Her position during these last, six months has been more trying than ever before in her modern history. Had Italy obeyed the behest of Germany, had she interpreted her obligations under the Triple Alliance (as she might easily have doooj as mandatory upon her to draw the sword and to utilise her navy against the Allies, then the international situation to-day would not be what it. is. Xor do wo care to dwell upon what the f situation would he hud, the policy of Italy not been what it was and is. It ip, however, legitimate at this hour, where a fresh and unexpected calamity has fallen upon her, to remind ourselves that the Empire owes much to Italy—more perhaps than it can ever adequately repay, j Therefore, we venture to make the sugge?f tion that Mew Zealand, through her 1 Government, should express her sympathy with Italy by repeating (he substantial ■gift which, in like circumstances, the Ward Administration made in 1310 when an awful calamity overtook U>u people of Messina. M e do not doubt for a moment I that the people of the Dominion will eup- 1 port Mr Massey and his colleagues in whatever steps they may decide u/tafec in this relation. The need is great, the call is urgent, nn;,i unquestionably the response snotild be prompt and generous.

Ix our issue of the 22nd December last "'c published an analysis of the voting at last election. It showed that the Government received a total of 213.565 and the Liberal-Labor combination a total of 276.873 votes. The majority against the Government was thus over 63,000. The Deform parly, however, still retain office, and probably have the best chaneo of continuing to hold control of the administration. The vacancy in Dunedin Central leaves the Hon. Mr Massey with 40 followers (if Mr Henaro, a dc dared Independent, can lie counted anions them) and the Hon. Sir Joseph Ward with 39. M o are not concerned, however, at present with prognostications as to the fate of political parties. Our desire is to set forth the absurdities of the electoral system in the light of the re-nits of the General Election. The object of an election is to ascertain the will of the people. For that purpose a rosily machinery is provided, and the industrial and commercial life of tlie community disturbed. It is galling to find that after all the expense and all the bother and ail the distraction that the expression of the will of the people has been hindered by defective machinery. A’ut only have large minorities in every electorate failed to secure

Proportional Representation and tlis> Reosnt Enaction.

any representation at all. but even the will of the majority in the country has , failed to prevail. The outcome h:i.. been not government by a majority, but government by a minority. Democratic ;ro- , vernment requires that the majority shall ■ rule, and that the minority shall bo hoard. | Neither of those requirements was satisirccV Tby tile content Vn December. Haul iVie | Jir.st one been realised there would have . j been no even division of parti:;-, intvcducj ing instability of government in a time of j war. There would have been no suggestions of another election to further fritter away the money and energy needed for the prosecution of the campaign against the German tyrant. The people expressed themselves decisively enough. Had their votes been counted as in a referendum for and against the Reform party there is no doubt that it would have sustained a signal defeat. During their three years of office the party have had a majority in the country of 24.000 against them, in saying this we in no wise wish to reflect upon the present Administration. Wo are not in the least degree actuated by (ho party spirit in the purusuit of our investigation. It is not any political party but the political machine that we are putting on trial. To what an absurdity can the electoral laws of this country reduce our politics when the coming- contest in Dunedin Central will decide—probably by two or three vote;—whether the Hon. Mr Massey shall retain the Treasury benches nr Sir Joseph Ward be called upon to form a Ministry. The people might well n<k : " Have we not " already settled this point by 276.C00 to “ 21.0.000 votes? - ’ It is to be. noticed that at last General Election the conditions were as favorable as possible to the working of the existing electoral system. All those evils against which the. Second Ballot was designer! were effectually met by party management. In the vast majority of electorate; only two candidates went to the poll, one ui favor of and one in opposition to the Government. This, at any rate, scoured that prevalence of the will of the majority in the individual electorates which it was the aim of the Second Ballot to ensure. Bit despite tills, the will of the country as a whole ha; been frustrated. It is not sufficient, however, to point out defects. Tnc question is ; Gan they be remedied? And when that question is answered the further question arises whether the politicians have any excuse i for further delaying the remedy. After j what has been said in our columns over (

and over again lor years past, it seems needless to state that the remedy—and the only one— is Proportional Represcntation. This sy.-tem secures that not only the will of the majority in small districts but that of tlie majority in the whole country shall prevail. It secures- this by the establishment of large districts. For instance, had Otago and Southland been one electorate the result of the election would have been quite different. Otago and Southland returned 14 representatives. Of these, nine were officially declared as elected to support the Government. We include in this number Mr Statiiam. who nas since resigned. '1 he other rive members are upholders of the Opposition. One would naturally expect from this that a substantial majority of the rotes in the two provinces were recorded in favor of Government candidates. The reverse, however, is the case. The Reform party received a total of 43,960 votes, the Liberal-Labor party a total of 49,660. The party with the greater voting strength received the lesser representation. In the Province of Otago alone the position is the same. The Reform party secured eight supporters with 54,258 votes; the Liberal-Labor party secured only two (Messrs Sidcy and Walker) with -6.103 votes. Two thousand more people voted for the latter party, and they obtained only one-fourth of the representation. Under Proportional Representation,

with Otago alone as one ' conchi tuency. the result of the election would have been either ; five Reform ’ and five Opposition membo.-, or ■ our “Reform ’ and six Opposition. The latter part of (he statement, however requires correction, because under PrjidG tional Representation the coMsU't'iitrt'cfes o-Muld be so arranged as to return an odd number of representatives. Thus-, whh;tho voting ar, it waa in Otago, either equal representation would have been secured bv the two parties cr Sir Joseph Ward’s combmation would have had a lead of hot more than one. Had Otago and Southland formed one electoral district the Government would have secured one seat less than the Opposition had there been an une\en number ta return. In ether words, the reprefienGctfcn would have been proportionate to the votes cast in the provinces. Taking the whole of Now Zealand into confederation, under a projvr system oi representation the .Liberal-Labor party would have had a majority of from eight to ten. So, in the interests of majority rule, the existing electoral system stands condemned, and Proportional Representation stands approved. Just now- we do not propose to expound the benefits of Proportional Representation arising from the repreoentation it secures to minorities and the effective value it (jives to every vote cast. Our paramount purpose at this juncture is to demonstrate that the present political impaose is ascribable to defective machinery for giving effect to the will of tiio people. There is. a poonbility—we trust it is- remote—that another election will have to take place. And for what reason? The people are not at fault. They have expressed themselves decisively on one side. And yet we may have the mockery of appealing to them attain for a decision which they have already given. this learts us to the second question wo, propounded. Can the politician,? be exonerated from blame? The leaders of both parties know the defects of the system under which they work, and both know, or ought to know, that Proportional Representation would remove them. Ml Massey admits the principle, of the I momiod system by his recent remodelling of the Legislative Council. Sir Joseph t\ a.rcl has given n tardy approval of the principle as generally applicable to the election of Parliament. We would therefore mje upon the Prime Minister, if he retains office under the conditions we have indicated, that lie make imincdiaHv a further r.;n-

cession to the principle of Proportional Representation by applying it to the four cities. 7hi? is surely the minimum that ran be vouchsafed. Let each city return four or live member? from a- combined district with preferential voting, and the benefits of even this limited adoption of the new system would be so marked a,-, to '"in for it a large mcarme of popular favor.

in the innermost recesses of the l.'siiiiis district who hive waited nvci 1 20 yen Vi to see so-called prnevessiv :’!overnincnts extend a. rail wav some 10 miles must he r.vccc,-j. ingly i-.x-i;p;vete.i at the unprofitable d-lay overttlet e niiiiinl opening of the final extension of the line to a rescans-’fid per; of a fertile area that has lain lor.j beyond the narrow vision of no ces-sivc p-dit is lan ■. It had bean expected that th- patient settk-ri v ould have had the pleasure and benefit of a railway servirj ns a sort <.f Christmas prwc.it. but one of tho.w exasperating hitchers which are so common in connection with the provision of pnbh: utilities in Xew Zealand hew occurred, with the result that those in authority cannot sac definitely when a- complex" s-'r- ; vue will be established from the l.rrminu? j to Iblclutlia. The Minister of Public | ' Works has been foremost »mnrj Dio-c! I who really desired to see (he railway j opened for profit aide, t rathe hr fur; the Xew Year, and has done his utmost dur- , ing the latter half of ir.st year to facilitate progress on the concluding construction of the, extension. Kvcrything looked promising for completion in December, when as was understood, the line was to have been officially opened and handed over to the Working Railways Department, The condition of the line appears to he a little short of the roor.irements of that department. whose officials must have the running standard of the arterial lines before they can assume full control of bianeh lines. It is stated that the Public Works Department’s officials arc satisfied that the condition of the line is such as to bear safely trains running at a maximum speed of 15 miles an hour -which is a greater sliced than that of n. cart on n deplorable bush road. The Working "Railways D-epartrnent officials are to he commended for their desire to maintain the approved standard ; but it would rcem that their zeal is rather (drained j in this care, if it be true that the line is strong enough tn provide n. reduced-speed train service.

Hardship on Settlers.

Tt is even more essential to-day than at- any other time thirinir a heartbreaking wait for a. railway to Tahakopa Valley that- the srttlfiis Sslion Id obtain such a sorvire at ordinary rates. The effects nf war 'Hi°, standard explanation of increased cost) have penetrated into the bnekhlocks of Cnliins, and settlers liars to pay more for their imported goods. Railway service at standard rates would case their birr easily,' burden, and enable many of them to increase their output of products. On timber alone, the difference in cost of transit, if the railway were available for goods traffic at the prevailing tariff' rates, would be 30s a. tnu-k—an important- difference at a time when trade is slack and competition with more advan-tageously-served districts is keen. Apart altogether from financial considerations, every effort should be made by the railway authorities to provide an adfi.rjuato service ns roon ns possible. Wo heartily support- the Catlins-Talinkopa Railway League's timely decision yesterday to call the I’rirnc Minister’s attention to the vexatious delay, and to urge a speedy opening of the line for traffic to its terminus.

Mcnticm of the recent General Election was made by the Prime Minister on Wednesday evening at a dinner tendered to Air A. M. Samuel (who war, the Reform candidate for the Hntt). " The people of New Zealand,” Air 'Massey remarked, now realir-d the narrow escape they have had of having the P.lflianient of the country . dictated hi and run by a- party of half ft dozen extremists.” lie added that it was one of the dirtiest campaigns he had ever heard of, and he had never heard of anything like the scandal indulged in. Never in the history of New Zetilflnfl il.id there been it Government who, haying regard to the time at their disposal.' had done so much for the country as the present Government. He Won id have been glad had the Government. secured a few more supporters. A voice: “Yon will get- thoill.” Alt* Massey : “ Possibly. I hope so. However, we have .a solid .party —solid as a. stone wall—who will stand through thick and thin by all the .principles they stood by in the nast.”

Air W. Jacobsen, engineer at the Drain age Board's pumping station at- Musselburgh, supplies tut with the following rain statistics for lftl4 :— •January, 2.4801 n ; February, ’j.SlOin : March, l.oOOin : April, 2.750 in : May, l.S4sin ; June. 2.080 in : •Inly, l.SlOin : August, .560 in ; September, I.4Soin : October, i,510i1l ; November, 2,960 in ; December, 5.270 in total, 24.645 in. “The position of Now Zealand to-day compares favorably with that, of aiiy other country,” raid the Prime Minister (the Right Hon. W. F. Alassevl at the dinner tendered to Mr A. M. fiamnel at Lower Hntt. on Wednesday. The, splendid position of the country had been remarked on by the Australian visitors he had recently met, and they had said that one would hardly know there was a. war in progress if they were to judge, by appearances in New Zealand. At the LhrGtcliUrch .Sweet Pea -and Carnation Show, held yesterday, Victor Hamel, of Maori Hill, scored first and •second in tin* open sweet pea championship, winning the ' cup and two silver medals, Ife exhibited 24 distinct varieties of sweet peas, which, in the opinion of the judge-', were the line.it that had been shown in the Cathedral City. The public; will have an opportunity of seeing the same varieties at the Dunedin Horticultural Society's bhow on January 87.

In reply lo a request for ilw latest figure? show ini' the Poet and Telegraph i e venue and Rost Olfic-e havings Bank Business of the Dominion, the Hon. 11. Heaton l{(icd.*< (PostnißUter-t t?»hm a 1) stated ar Christchurch last night that, notwithstanding the wai. the revenue for the Hcvcmb r quart of 1914 showed an merearo of £14,090 ever Unit of tb:- December quarter of 1915. 7he Savings Hank results also in 'St satisfartfiry. The ,\; ■ ■ of deposits over withdrawals amounted last (putter to £133.347, as against an excess of only £73.248 in the Doeentbrr quarter of 1915, while the ex-i-ess of deprsiis for th- n culandpr year 3914 an i nrli fl to no («? than £1,301,503.

«in;li v. cs :i r«voi<! f.-r '.be Dominion, iht previous reeord having <><t dv h.sirH in IHC7. v, !'--;; th’ cxcc-s of deposits .a mounted to £1.226.511. ,\ Wei;;■ 21 on rcg.-sage that, a- ■ I !alp ‘ ir-s K*;a iran'd i- -;;tii’ninf; a rev' list of < •'iv.ra'uiripl cf war. The tin "if i pinrns for the City Corperation tramways for t.h? fortnights er-ic I i)e-v;iiN : 'r 2o and .tannery 5 lost re.-mmcively. as con! nil re-.! v- jt ii the corresponann: icriri of the previnm, year. wore na T-dev : Kiirtni"!n end•'d Dc'p.mbar 26. ]&•<<-- ro.-p.. - .ta. £2.221 ?.=-8d : mileeg'. 40.067 rnil-'s:' .1215 rerr-ipt-.. £5.120 2? 8! : in seage. 50.8 »v> miles. Kertnight onl-vl r!}. ,151 5 —rec i ; ',t.-. £5.150 5:- 7-1 ; ir' ;, "'icP. -12,657 mil -; 1014 re-'■'-ipt o £5.255 ]■• 51: inil'-ay51.572 mih'r. £-1 ,f,rn I ;r|] n! FmKaV ETVirPS (Is PmimFia. t' ■ t below appras* in our advrnisTs (■ ‘Online ■ \n; iem Ail FaintPrcsbv - - lrr £i : 1 I i’ n r rcrch. Kn- r liiineh. 6l A nlrew's, c-mth Dunedin. Xmi-b-enst Vallrr. t'pver-harn, Morning.l >-n, Md ? - nbnrgh. Ros'yh, Ft. /"lair, Tba! liters. Hr-xid Kay.' : Ic:ii-fli ( ■ fn'it': v. i nitrel Alis? on. Morning, t.-n. fares!! Hard. T!£i'l,-nowWcodbaiigh. Xnnh-ra--t Valley. Dune’** Short. Kew, Abbo!?f rT •Uavctf-boitrnp, Rodyn. Maori Hill, i ''oiigregaiiond ■ liyy I’lac". .King fdreet, !.• i;h bl-rci, St. (.'lair Wapdst; Hanover des'vn, One. hj T'lnne'iu, raverdnni. Xerth-ras! V.tl!r- r . Chu-ch of Chrr-t • Tib--, i’South Dunedin. Fili-ci Pl-eer. Mornmelon. Thyis _adr Libia ts. C oral Hail. Th-o--•*spii t. n n ■d :i i f c'l e So. (0 a hide (H I; ■e; ■ tl-'i'i iv,co w.;r-kic'-, bn; vs wird; the rr nrv.— : r A.dr:,J •Tlau'i ad< y.-.- r g----!?’ , n whiskv. IbTee l hen; H:r hr.icon's Vo 10. —[Advt.] ’ ’ X'c ladv slioukl b; withori Mar* in’s Aped mid Steel Hiss- 0--1 ,i hv a.'. , men-"? nirl stores 1 lir'-ne i.n-.y. An-h;.'a,—sAdvt.] '.troubled wiib ic '-.o; ara V .V r, I a.. s of Vi'atsn!i s X'o. 10 makes a splendid n : fh‘ron [Advt.] The Maheno is advertised in rn-.i m Xorrb

Bpit end Maori Kaik tn-niarro\v. An in nienirn-iani service to the lair, yr, E. Tnrler will be Iwld i-i C av-i-shan; Atr-jlir, ■dist Chtireh to-morrow cvrninjt A nicer in g of lady stippovt rrs of Mr ■!. AV Aftiuro will lie held in' ibe Trades Hall Aloray place, on Tuesday afternoon next. A glass cf Speight's beer at lunch airl supper is better than a!! iho tea in China.--[A cl vt. J

The Citir.cn?' Hand will oecuyv Sr. Clny pavilion to-morrow nftenvoon. The full p ro sramme of music to be played will be four.' in our advertising celumnr.. A special and general imetim- e; HiOtago Oenevnl Laborers' Fnien will he h.-V at the TTiinn Hall, Ftinart r , ;) y\v,i. nesday evening. Watson’s X'o. 30 is a little dsa-e- then most whiflcicp, but is worth the moiicr [Advt.]

The Hailed Sffarr-Bowketf fltApufts of 51,500 on the RPib irnt. Entries for tl:» Dunedin Horiirnltii-U Poetety’s shew on Jauiarv 27 rlorc on Monday, 25fh inst. A meeting of Mr .T. W. Mim-o's Morrievlon friends and support fir.- wil hj« hid at the Monn’ugtnn Borough Ovine-'! CbanT rrs on Monday evening Mr Forbes MVicleoel. Hie .Scotch fionimpiifos i mi, mi-cion to-nvrvnv at 1. in Mosgi'-’l, cud o-v- 1 inure wj.-h two op-i-t niarhtly’during the wf-r';. Children nr 6 45, adults at 7.45. The lent is pitched oppesde the Coronation Hall. Kcw season’s photographic goods: Excellent stock now arriving Cameras ivnrn 6s. fiend rmir order earlv to H. J. Gill, 13 and 13 Frederick street. Dunedin. 'Phone 1,144. —f Advt.l Dune-din firarr-Bowk"! t Building ficcietv di.-pose of 51,000 in Oddfellows' Hall on Wednesday, 20tli January, 1915. at 8 ir.in. Shares it. N<>. 3 Group may still he bad on application to 12 Octagon.

At fit. Clair Congregational Cbttrch tomorrow rrr-irng the [■' ■- o. 'v V. .1. A-hford's subject will .1 o ’ The War and ihe Church.' Airs Hoadlcy. from England, is to be the soloist.

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Bibliographic details

The Evening Star SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 1915., Evening Star, Issue 15702, 16 January 1915

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The Evening Star SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 1915. Evening Star, Issue 15702, 16 January 1915

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